Category: Elizabeth Poulin

Maine: Food Security Issues – Covid-19 2020

These are a couple articles I have started looking at in order to begin my research.

This sources discusses how the virus is effecting Mainers who lack adequate access to food.

This sources starts to look into how Maine’s local fish and farmer industry is adjusting during the pandemic.


LL Bean boxing food, not flannel, to help during pandemic

This source is one initiative that a large company in Maine has undertook to help those in need around the state.

This is a brief article stating some resources to help Mainers.

Podcast Assignment


Final Project Annotations

I have been doing some research into how to create a meaningful and impactful mini documentary.  This article discussed that everyone has something to say, and something we care about, but it is how we film it that makes a difference.  Everyone needs a why, and it is important to find the why before filming begins. The “why” serves as the main influence, motivation, and guiding factor throughout the process.

This week, my focus was to lean more on modern articles that talked about storytelling through food. I wasn’t surprised to find out that food gives people the ability to talk difficult and personal things. This article touched on the ways in which food practices have been vital to healing historical trauma, recalling childhood experiences as farm workers, and combating urban violence. It was important for me to understand the vulnerability that comes alongside storytelling. I hope to notice and honor this during our interview process.


Annotations for Final Project

This article explores how food memories contribute to the construction of migrant identities and cultural practices. Often times migrant communities seek to create a home away from home through cooking, sharing, and consuming ethnic food. The article argues that food is central to the ways migrants identify themselves both in an individual and collective way. This source will provide background information on food, memory, and identity while giving us specific examples from the Cameroonian community in Cape Town, South Africa. 

During the constant movement and relocation immigrants experience, food has the ability to give people a sense of place or belonging.  From production, preparation, or consumption individuals and groups craft their identities around these different goods and lifestyles.  This article will help us to understand how others have used food to find their sense of belonging while constantly moving. This source can also give us some ideas on the types of interview questions we would like to ask people.


The Dinner Table

An interesting topic we touched on today was the concept of the dinner table.  The dinner table is often seen as a place to come together and enjoy each others company, but this isn’t always the case.  This table can hold discussions both positive and negative, hard conversations and exciting ones.  This conversation also got me thinking about seating positions at a dinner table, where the man of the household sits at the head.  Gender norms and assumptions are very present at a dinner table, which is something I hadn’t previously thought about.

Winterberry Farm Project

Click the link to learn about Winterberry Farm!

Winterberry Farm Photo Project

Mary Perry – Winterberry Farm

I will be interviewing Mary Perry, the owner of Winterberry Farm in Maine.  She wasn’t available to chat until this upcoming weekend, however I spent a summer on this farm and can provide some background information.

Winterberry Farm is an animal powered certified organic family-operated farm.  The farm consists of forty acres of open field, pastures and woodland.  There a wide variety of animals on the farm, to name a few there are several laying hens, a team of horses, oxen, ducks, and a bunny.  Mary started farming in 2001, producing certified organic food, to ensure the health of her children and the land they were being raised on.  Mary started off with a small stand selling some jarred goods and pies.  Since then she has expanded greatly by adding a farm store on her property.  Along with the store, she attends a few weekly markets, and offers a CSA program.

Below I have listed some questions I will be asking Mary.

  • What has the experience of owning and operating a farm taught you?
  • What are some ongoing challenges you experience every day with being a small-scale farm?
  • What types of seeds do you use, and do you save your seeds?
  • How do you decide what crops you will grow during the growing season?
  • How many acres do you grow on?
  • What are your hopes for the future of the farm?


You and The Food System

Bagels: During this three-day timeframe, one thing I ate everyday was a bagel.  The first ingredient listed on the plain bagel package is enriched wheat flour.  This type of flour is called enriched flour, because it goes through an enrichment process.  During the milling process the natural nutrients from wheat are lost.   This process adds several nutrients, such as minerals and vitamins, to back into the refined flour.  These nutrients are niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron.  Enriched wheat flour starts off as wheat.  Since China is the largest producer of wheat, for this product I’ve made the assumption the wheat was grown in China.  Other areas wheat is commonly grown in are India, Russia, and the United States, to name a few.  Once the wheat is cultivated it is either transported by barge, rail, or truck.  From there it is stored, separated and put through a thorough process.  This process consists of removing unnecessary material, removal of impurities, and eventually the grinding, purifying, and sifting into different flours.  My assumption is that the cultivation of the wheat creates large environmental impacts in the process.  The cultivation of wheat involves fertilizers that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.  I also think that the tilling of the soil and irrigation create other environmental problems as well.  Another energy-intensive aspect in order to create this ingredient is the electricity and power for the production facilities.  In order to calculate the food miles to get a bagel on my plate, I found a food miles’ calculator.  This calculated roughly how many miles it took for enriched flour to arrive in the US.  After this calculation I think the food miles for my bagel would be roughly 7500 miles.  However, this is an estimate that mainly take into account the miles from China.


Baby Carrots: Another food I ate every day and more than once each day was carrots, usually baby carrots.  Carrots only consist of one ingredient, and that’s carrots.  I was surprised to discover that most of the US grown carrots are grown in California.  The process of producing baby carrots is by first harvesting full-sized carrots from the fields.  Once they are harvested they are washed, sorted, sized, cut, peeled, and polished.  Smaller carrots are processed, shaped, and packaged.  The pesticides used on carrots crops, like other crops, cause damage to the environment.  The production process of the carrots is energy intensive, thus adding to harmful environmental impacts. However, baby carrots have the flexibility to use more of the carrot resulting in wasting less carrots.  Carrots can be sold locally, but are often packaged in many different ways.  Most commonly seen in stores are the bags of baby carrots, other products are snack size ranch with baby carrots or thrown into a plastic to-go snack kit.  After comparing a few different food mile websites for carrots, I am thinking roughly 2000 miles to reach my refrigerator.  Similarly, to the bagel this estimate doesn’t include the miles that the carrots gain during the processing and packing process.

Dried Mangos: The last food item I choose from my list was dried mango slices.  These dried mangos don’t have any added ingredients; they are just dried mangos.  I bought these dried mangos from Trader Joe’s and the package claims the mangos are a product of Mexico, which makes sense since they are one of the top producers of Mangos.  Once the Mangos are grown and picked from their trees, they are carefully selected.  The mangoes used for drying purposes are the ones without damage, pests, and have a good overall appearance.  From there the mangos are trimmed and washed.  Once they have been cleaned well, each mango is peeled and cored.  Out of these steps, from my understanding, there isn’t too much human involvement.  However, the cutting of the mangos is sometimes performed by many people. Finally, the mangos go on to blanching, to be sterilized, drying, and packing.  These steps can be pretty energy intensive, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases into the environment.  The online calculation I found for dried mangos was roughly 5500 miles.

Elizabeth Poulin

I’m from Maine and enjoy the outdoors.  I am a math major and completing the food studies certificate.  I don’t have a solid career path or direction yet, but I am hoping to start somewhere in data analytics.  Ideally, I would like to analyze data for either some agricultural or food operation.  I am very interested in analyzing data for different food policies, potentially a policy analyst.  I’m not sure where I’ll end up, but hopefully I’ll fall into ones of these paths.

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